ICELAND PHOTO DIARY

IMG_8584IMG_8874IMG_8907IMG_9443IMG_9184IMG_9244IMG_9840IMG_9825IMG_9730IMG_9691IMG_9588IMG_9266IMG_8877IMG_8757IMG_8641IMG_6032IMG_9677IMG_9575IMG_9563IMG_9417IMG_9230IMG_9100IMG_8930IMG_6057IMG_6070IMG_6092IMG_8598IMG_8661IMG_8689IMG_8958IMG_9138IMG_6034IMG_9104IMG_9009IMG_8634IMG_8628IMG_8736

This is not a guide. And my photos do nothing to justify the sights I got to see. I tried my best to leave them as they were, simply because I wanted to remember them for how exactly I saw them. No filters. No VSCO. The never-ending natural beauty Iceland had to offer constantly left me speechless. I was so exhausted from all the travelling everyday but I had never so badly wanted to not close my eyes while I was in the car because you never know what you'll see next. Samuel, Hazel and I arrived at perfect timing in Iceland. Spring. I was down with a serious case of tonsillitis and had to be rushed to the A&E 2 days prior to my flight so I was so grateful to have made it. Like I said, this isn't a guide and I know I will never be satisfied with what I say in this post from here are pointers from my experience that you may find helpful if you're ever visiting. - The reason I think Spring in perfect timing in Iceland is because you get to experience a good amount of sunlight in the day. The sun rises between 5 to 6 and sets at around 8. Winters in Iceland can be very dreadful with only 2 hours of sunlight while summers almost never see the sun taking a breather.I loved that we got to experience a good amount of snow and greenery at the same time. Every local we spoke to jokes about how Iceland has barely see any good weather and in the few days we were there, we were lucky that it only rained about half the trip. But the rainbows we saw made it all worth it at the end.
  IMG_9776IMG_9544IMG_9447

- We did a self-drive tour during our 6 days in the country. And it is the best advice I can give for anyone travelling in Iceland in order to do things at your own pace. A GPS is all you need and we survived without 3G for the entire time we were on the road and it felt like the perfect way to disconnect from everything else. As first-timers we covered the Golden Circle route covering most of the primary stops including Gullfoss, Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir and the Blue Lagoon. These are all fairly close to each other so they can be easily finished in a day or two and it is a great way to see Iceland if you're short of time. The thing about Iceland is that it is touristy but it is no where near being a tourist trap. The entire time I was there, I felt free from anything commercial. A lot of the sights we saw were obligatory tourist spots but all of them left as they are without touts trying to sell you souvenirs. To see most of the sights are free except with maybe one that would ask for a donation.
  IMG_6014IMG_9859IMG_9852

-Reykjavik is a quaint little town but full of surprises and amazing food. The flavours I got to experience despite having trouble eating properly were intense to say the least. Whale meat anyone? We stayed in a little Roomorama apartment in the heart of the city minutes from everything. It was the most convenient and comfortable. Our host, Glenn, happened to be a chef at the very popular Laundromat Cafe in Austurstræti. It was where we also had our first meal in Iceland before we met him to get our keys to the apartment. Brunch was really good and I definitely recommend it. The concept behind the Laundromat is a relaxing place to enjoy food, surf the net, meet friends, all of this while getting your laundry done. Other places we dined at included the Apotek Restaurant where I had the best Icelandic fish, Noodle Station for honestly, the BEST asian noodles I've had in a long, long time and the Grill Market which was absolutely worth every penny. - Tourist information centres in Reykjavik are god-sent as they are filled with the most friendly people who end up your friends. If you're interested in any tour or have any enquiries, they'll be more than happy to help from my experience. We booked our horse-back tour and afternoon at the Blue Lagoon through the centre and it was so fuss-free I almost couldn't believe it. For our tour with the horses, we chose one with a smaller farm so that the experience could be more personal. The tour ended up being completely private and the horses were gentle and so easy to ride on. Horse-riding tours in Iceland are very popular so most farms usually have different kinds of tours available and also a variety of horses for people with or without riding experience. When I go back, I know that I'll be booking a glacier boat tour and helicopter rides to see Iceland from a different perspective. 

 - We didn't eat very well when we were on the road. A lot of it was take-out we got and ate in the car but it was fun having Domino's while passing snow-capped mountains. Some of it was local diners which was an interesting experience. Prepare snacks and lots of water while you are on the road. We stayed in B&Bs and guesthouses, some had absolutely no food nearby and no wifi and while I would normally call it a nightmare, it was quite the experience because I knew I was literally in the middle of nowhere. 

 - For people who say that Iceland is expensive, I really beg to differ. Food is about the price of anywhere in Europe, if not cheaper. I think this trip was one of the most value-for-money adventures I've done. It can be easily be done cheap with some research and planning in advance. 

unnamed-12

I left a big part of me in Iceland. I know I say that about every new country or city I visit but Iceland will hold a significant place in my heart. This is a place that is easy to get to but hard to forget. I have never in my life felt so much peace throughout the time I was there and the sights I saw only proved to me how real God is. The vastness of everything is mind-blowing. It is a world of it's own that is often overlooked but really made me appreciate nature for what it is. In the 6 days we spent in Iceland, we only saw a tiny percentage of what it had to offer and I would have loved to be able to stay for another week or so even if it meant no wifi. My number one goal would be to catch the Aurora Borealis (Northen Lights) which we unfortunately had to miss. But really, just go. Trust me on this one.

 *Ps- my accommodation in Reykjavik was sponsored by Roomorama, head to your #dreamdestination with $50USD off your Roomorama booking when you enter the promo code, "meowiie"!